Soft high notes

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by just, Apr 18, 2014.

  1. just

    just Pianissimo User

    Dec 26, 2013
    Hi everyone again!

    Let's see if someone can give me some advise. I have recently started working on my range. I can play piano and softly to a high D sharp-E but I don't know how to grow those notes (from B above the staff to high E) on volume and sound.

    I play on an student Jupiter horn and a VB 1.5C. ANY advise would be great!

    Thanks a lot!
  2. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    Oh we can give you advice! ;-) How did you grow the notes below what you want to grow now? The principles are the same you just have to be patient. The upper register takes time and serious chop development.
  3. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    We start with exhaling instead of "supporting" the notes. We start in the lower register where everything is managable. Inhale and exhale with no "tension" between the two states. Once our breathing works, we replace exhale with play - without changing the body use. Google my "Circle of Breath" for more details.

    Superior trumpeting starts when we stop trying to conquer range, endurance and technique!
  4. VetPsychWars

    VetPsychWars Fortissimo User

    Nov 8, 2006
    Greenfield WI
    How true this is... when I forget that it doesn't take any more effort to play higher or louder is when I try too hard and fail quickly. Finding my magic combination of horn and mouthpiece that helps make playing more effortless helps but it is still difficult to unlearn bad habits.

  5. Dr.Mark

    Dr.Mark Mezzo Forte User

    Apr 5, 2011
    Hi Just,
    You grow them just like Tobylou8 suggests. It takes a while to develop the control (and I do mean control) and (just as important) the mental concept that high notes are not something grand, wonderful, spectacular, or God sent. It's just notes, no more, no less. This is a hard mental concept to get through but as long as you understand that the upper register is just a few more notes in your arsenal, then you'll get there. Of course there's the other perspective where the person heaves and strains and eventually gets to the upper register through extreme force and when they play, it sounds like an angry tea pot (compressed sound) on every frinkin' note!! Now don't get me wrong, I like a Maynard hangover as much as the next person but not on every note.
    If you do develop an excessive Maynard hangover, take two Arban's with a large glass of water followed by lots of "soft" long tones. If the condition persists, then you may have a misconception on what is soft.
    What is soft? I need to be able to stand next to you as you play and converse with someone without straining to speak or hear.
  6. BigSwingFace

    BigSwingFace Pianissimo User

    Apr 30, 2013
    Frederick, MD
    I guess it wouldn't be a proper thread without someone suggesting new equipment over technique and practice...

    In the spectrum of trumpet mouthpieces, a Bach 1.5 rim has a rather large diameter. Switching to a more compact rim such as a 5 or a 7 will not increase your range, but you may notice the high register becoming easier or the notes themselves developing a bigger sound. This is not my personal preference for rims, but if we were all made differently it stands to reason we all need varying rim sizes. If you want a cheap way to test out different rims I'd suggest the Kelly mouthpieces. They're plastic but you'll be able to settle into a new rim and see if you like it. When getting into the magical world of mouthpiece selection it's important to only explore one aspect at a time. So, pick a rim size you like before worrying about other factors like cup depth or throat size.

    Having said that, there's no equipment change that can offset the importance of proper practice and dedication. Cat Anderson said one would never improve their trumpet playing by mindlessly blowing notes; it has to be a focused attempt to build strength in the embouchure. There's no replacement for that.

    ...but a smaller rim might help.
  7. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Before massing around with mouthpieces, try the following: Slurred arpeggios with a crescendo with a fermata on the last note. Starting with C below the staff: C-E, C-E-G, C-E-G, C-E-G-c, c-e-g-d-e, c-e-g-c-e-g, c-e-g-c-e-g-c[SUP]2[/SUP]. Then descending: c[SUP]2[/SUP]-g,c[SUP]2[/SUP]-g-e etc. Proceed by half tones.

    Listen to a judicious mixture of Chase and the Chicago Symphony and emulate them.

    Have fun!
  8. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

    Sep 20, 2009
    New York State USA
    I found practicing lower notes in long tones and playing more there ((like 4 or 5 notes lower -- so maybe top of staff area for you) - --- eventually working upward.. I also found that playing at your max range will become easier --- softer and lower, and longer --- seems contrary but that is what I did. ------ of course ""giving it some real ooomph and air for high notes"" helps also
  9. tjcombo

    tjcombo Forte User

    Nov 12, 2012
    Melbourne, Australia
    Thanks VB - you've previously mentioned the slurred arpeggios or glissandos (arpeggii & glissandi??) and they worked for me. I've finally started lessons and my new teacher commented on how relaxed and easy my embouchure was through the whole range. It's largely due to these exercises.
  10. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    The problem is that the equipment has NOTHING to do with playing soft or high - except for those with weak chops. A 1.5C is not that big and certainly has no parameter built in to limit range or dynamics.

    Changing mouthpieces is the saddest excuse before we have taken measure of our current state and defined the REAL reasons that our playing is lacking.

    This is perhaps the wrong thread for a mouthpiece analysis, but I have done tests on what the "wrong" mouthpiece really does do. It does not affect range, endurance and tone are affected because our ears/brain expects something else and unnecessarily compensates. It is not the size of the mouthpiece that screws us up, rather what we hear. The rim contour and material is always a comprimise between flexibility and stability. In this case, we are creatures of habit. That being said, identical rims feel different if they are silver or gold plated. The gold plated one feels bigger. This is due to the fact that gold gets microscratches and holds "water".


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